Interview: Photographer Guido Fuà (Italy) Winner of the month
Can you tell us a little about you?
I'm a self-taught photographer who never took a lesson in photography or worked as an assistant. I've got a university master's degree in Visual Anthropology, and I've been teaching photography in different schools. I've been publishing in many national and international printed magazines. Everything I know comes out of years of experience, reading, studying, observing great photographers, and studying many kinds of techniques. But times are different now, and web tutorials or photography schools help reduce long learning experiences, although they don't furnish the right cultural stratification level necessary to have a vision. One can have the best camera globally, but images will be trash without an idea behind them.
How and when did you get intophotography?
I can say that I feel to have called hold of a camera ever since. My father liked photography as a hobby and then passed tit o family video edited by himself with a mechanical moviola. So, I was already photographing at the age of thirteen when he gave me an old 6x6 Yashica with the viewfinder. I was sixteen when I assembled the first darkroom. There I consumed the raw passion in red light, sometimes until 5 a.m., going late to school with a self-signed excuse. Today, it takes about 47 years playing with images and cameras, but I don't feel like a dinosaur. I have gone soon for the digital shift and matured my vision and skills as a new start since the beginning of the year 2000.
What does photographymean to you?
Photography has always been an alibi in the depth of my soul. The unique passe par tout allowed me to get in and out of different cultural and social contexts, get in touch with all kinds of people and personalities, justifying my intrusion or presence where I wasn't supposed to be. It is in my blood, and I think I have transmitted it in the DNA of my children. I always visualize frames and compositions, emotions, and expressions, and I feel like cameras are a natural extension of my body.
Please briefly describe your photography style for our readers.
I feel photography almost a 360 degrees challenge (except for sport and wildlife photography which I've never practiced). My work is a passionate and vivid mix of many photography genres: from nude art, fashion, corporate, reportage, portrait up to street photography. I devour movies that give me a cinematic kind of contemporary vision. Sometimes I'm wondering if there is a specific genre I prefer most. I should say that in the end, social and studio portrait and nude photography always come back and are somehow the interior flame that inspires me continuously.
Where do you get from your inspiration?
What inspired me yesterday is ready for a shift today. I'm not a past lover (I intentionally avoid listing names of painters and photographers I admire). I'm always extending the eye to the new and contemporary. Either we are speaking of society changes or aesthetic evolution. Let's say I tend to upgrade continuously. In my pictures, it's evident my attraction for portrait, aesthetic and sensual photography. One indispensable source of inspiration I breathe when I walk In Rome. If I forget to smell the uncollected garbage, I can notice art everywhere. Then I could say I find inspiration between rotten and artful aspects of my city, with an eye to an illustrious photographic background and the other to an imaginary and virtual world hovering over it, as digital life goes on.
Do you think in advance what you want in the picture?
It depends. If I want to realize a personal work, I visualize it in my mind, and then I feed myself with a lot of images related to the subject, found on the web or in my photographic books. But always, I leave space for improvisation. Photography is not a one-way superimposed vision; there are still other actors: the subjects. If I've to work for a client, I go there with a blank mind, tabula rasa. I've learned that it's useless to imagine before you get on the spot. Everything will be less or different from your imagination.
Studio, on location, or both?
I like them both. In my long career, I've spent a lot of time hanging around the world. Lately, I've been working much more in my studio. Finding new locations is never enough; in the open air and different parts of the world, we always experience new light types. That gives us a new perspective when we use strobe lights in the studio.
Would you consider yourself a hobbyist or a paid professional?
Although I keep the passion alive as if I was a hobbyist when I used to shoot B&W films and develop them in my darkroom, I am a professional.
What has been your most memorable session and why?
This a tricky question because photographers have a strong feeling for many of their images that they consider unique and related to so many different situations. But this time, I feel to answer that there's the picture of my amateur stage, which I named "Without," which is the first one that made me feel the thrill of creativity and goosebump while I was shooting it (like the first kiss). It represents a naked woman seen from her backs, sitting on a bed and fronting a window, without her head visible.
Nikon or Canon? Favorite lens?
In the analog times, I was a Nikon-addicted fan. After the digital revolution, I was obliged to divorce and traded everything with Canon, a long procession of models up to the latest, including the mirrorless R5. Then I use a medium format digital Fujifilm camera GFX-50s. In the studio, I usually shoot with 85,100,135 fixed focal lenses. Outdoor, I can use either an 85 f1.4 and a 50 f1.2 or a 24-70 f2.8 and 80-200 f2.8 zoom.
What is one piece of advice you would like to offer a new photographer looking to start their own business?
We can't deny these are challenging times, without rules, predictions, or certainties. We all know this is an epochal turning point in terms of economy, technology, and health, which has changed our habits of life, and the period of adjustment will still belong. Only passion cannot be taken away by anyone. I suggest, in the meantime of this transition, use perseverance and humility. Do lots of practice and repeated attempts to obtain the desired results. Assimilate photographic techniques to achieve faster execution; imitate other photographers' styles to mature your vision; study composition. If you aren't interested in cool, composed shots, forget it and get to know people. Know your limitations and inclinations. Become rapid in order not to remain behind the flow and capture the speed of the moments. In the end, run an extra mile when you think you're done and see if something else happens. Cultivate your visions with stubbornness and availability: in an endless sea of photographers or clickers, the goal is to make the difference. What matters at the end is the freedom of thought and the founding idea, the meaningful intention, and more than anything have a vision.
What do you think of our magazine?
I think you are doing a great job. It's an excellent opportunity for many passionate photography makers to find a spot of fame were to harbor some of their work in an ocean full of images flowing everywhere for just nanoseconds. Keep it up, and good luck in catching talent!